Seeking medical care can be one of the most stressful experiences in someone’s life. Patients often do not have the time or ability to ensure that they only receive emergency treatment from providers who are considered in-network. For these individuals, the subsequent medical bills can be just as stressful as the initial medical emergency, if not more. It is these types of bills that often lead people toward bankruptcy. 

What is an in-network provider? 

An in-network provider is a health professional or facility that has a contract with a specific health insurance plan. This includes providing more cost-effective services to patients who use that insurance. In certain situations, such as with primary care providers and even some specialists, identifying in-network providers can be relatively straight forward. However, it is not so easy during emergencies or in situations that call for multiple providers and services. 

When a patient goes in for surgery or receives any other type of treatment that involves more than one provider, it is possible that he or she will be seen by out-of-service providers. These providers are not bound by the same rates and prices as in-network providers and can bill their patients for the entire balance after insurance. These surprise medical bills often come from: 

  • Anesthesiologists 
  • Emergency physicians 
  • Pathologists 
  • Radiologists 

Although legislation has made great strides in trying to prevent and limit the occurrence of surprise medical bills, patients in Georgia are still suffering under the weight of medical debt. Nearly 70% of personal bankruptcies are related to medical debt just like this. The good news is that bankruptcy can provide a proven path forward for addressing and discharging medical bills, credit card balances and other types of personal debt.